Travel Guide: Find Foliage and Crisp Mountain Air in Manchester, Vermont

Ever hiked with a hawk? Cast for trout in a pristine mountainside pond? Do it all in one day in this autumn wonderland.

manchester vermont

A view of the historical Equinox Golf Resort & Spa from above. / Courtesy photo

Getting There

About a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Boston, the trek north to this foliage lover’s paradise winds through scenic Route 2 toward the sprawling Green Mountains.

Staying There

Long an escape for dignitaries (including four presidents), the historical Equinox Golf Resort & Spa recently celebrated its 250th anniversary with a freshly redesigned interior heavy on refined New England accents. Opt for one of two cupola-topped suites to glimpse 360-degree panoramas of the area’s brilliant peaks.

The open-air fire pit is the centerpiece of the hotel’s back porch. / Courtesy photo


Up here, it’s all about maximizing exposure to the crisp mountain air. Fuel up with a platter of pancakes and local syrup at Up for Breakfast, the beloved nook atop the Green Peak Elements antiques shop. Then start the morning with a lesson on the surprisingly complex art of fly-fishing with Orvis instructors at a mountainside pond. That leaves time to hit the trail to Lye Brook Falls, a 125-foot cascade; the more adventurous can don a leather handling glove and take a “hawk walk” with the Green Mountain Falconry School, during which trained birds of prey swoop from branch to branch alongside hikers. For some midday sustenance, head to the new counter-service spot the Crooked Ram for Vermont beers, local cheeses, and handmade pastries.


Venture downtown and get lost in the labyrinthine Northshire Bookstore, a beloved landmark for bibliophiles, then browse the racks for cozy fall fashions and home goods at the 40 high-end stores (think: Armani and Marimekko) that make up the open-air Manchester Designer Outlets. Hungry for dinner? Tuck into New England classics at Ye Olde Tavern, where ancient wooden floors creak with each step, decadent cranberry fritters with Vermont maple butter arrive without warning, and frosty mugs are filled with an exclusive brown ale from Long Trail Brewing Company. Round off the evening with a fireside nightcap on the Equinox’s back porch, and toast to a perfect end to a quintessential autumn day.